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July 18, 2016

Un-hyphenating Lifestyles

Harry M. Covert

Tragedy after tragedy continues to befall life as we know it. I will admit shamelessly that the police fatal shootings in Falcon Heights, MN, and Baton Rouge, LA, brought real tears to my eyes. Then the Dallas assassinations of five police officers brought horror to my heart. And now, Baton Rouge again.


To localize the incidents, sworn officers of the law and citizens deserve our serious attention and respect, immediately. National events have an effect on us.


Like others I wish and pray we individuals and our leaders can come up with solutions and find them immediately.


With exception of those who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, I doubt few newspaper readers recall when racial identifications, primarily those of "black" or "colored" persons, were used in news columns. It wasn't until the mid-1960s when news agencies stopped using the description "so-and-so, a Negro, was arrested." It was widespread throughout the news world. Thankfully this practice stopped.


Nowadays society has become engrossed with hyphenating almost everybody. It has become second nature and detrimental. We wonder why everything is so racist. Fill out applications for almost anything and little boxes want responses for nationality. I understand the need to know census statistics. But, but and but?


The question is how to calm down the growing racial divide facing every city, town and hamlet. There is no simple or easy answer. We can spout all sorts of platitudes regarding reasons for the serious decline in race relations. But these clichés, and in my opinion, they become trite and have no positive effect on the conduct of the people -- white, black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, European, Semitic, or Islanders.


This may sound off the wall, but name-calling and slang expressions, et al, are too popular and horrendous. This hyphenation business is overwhelming and hurtful to everybody.


I know human nature can be careless in the use of racial slang. Just because free speech means exactly that – free – Americans must consider just how to use the language. A lot of language can be hurtful.


It is difficult for me to watch police shootings. It is difficult for me to watch citizens of any color, race or ethnicity shoot, stab, behead or maim another, even when I watch cop shows on television or the movies.


I do worry nowadays that our nation is on the cusp of an impending disaster. Respect seems completely a thing of the past and somehow leadership – en masse – is nowhere to be found.


Taking recent events into local consideration, respect for law enforcement on every level is vital. Courtesy and respect for every resident – with or without hyphenation – must be given, second nature. No question.


Because wrongs, no matter how grievous, occur elsewhere, there is no reason for copycats to get passes for misconduct on any level in other locales.


It is easy to make instant judgments from videos. But, there’s that word again, there are two sides to every story, and then there’s the truth no matter how awful the events. It’s easy to call for and demand calm, but the calls must be made.


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